Four overnight camps in Maine successfully stemmed the spread of the novel coronavirus and conducted sessions with over 1,000 attendees from 41 states and international locations this summer, according to a new report published on Wednesday.
The findings in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report contrasted with that of an overnight camp in Georgia, where the disease reportedly spread to at least 44% of staff and attendees.
All Maine camp attendees for the season between June and August were asked to quarantine with families for 10–14 days before arrival, and camps advised members to arrive in a family vehicle.
About a week before arrival, the attendees were tested for the coronavirus, and three of the four camps mandated submission of these results before entry.
To address exposure during travel, all camps quarantined attendees by groups for 14 days after arrival.
At camp, members were screened for symptoms daily, divided into smaller groups, asked to wear masks and to observe enhanced hygiene measures, among other steps.
Camps limited indoor activities, staggered bathroom use and dining timings, and limited sports to those that allowed for physical distancing. Personal sports equipment and shared items were disinfected immediately after use.
The study did not measure how well campers and staff adhered to precautions, and did not test all members at the end of sessions who might have been asymptomatic, the researchers said.
Still, the low rate of transmission shows that such interventions might be effective at reducing the rate of spread of the virus for at least some time at overnight camps, residential schools, and colleges, researchers said.